The lawsuit alleges Erika's story about Tom's accident was totally "fabricated" and calls out her "insensitive and shameful" social media posts too.
Erika Jayne has been named in a new $55 million racketeering lawsuit.
Filed Tuesday by Edelson PC in Chicago and obtained by TooFab, Jayne, her company EJ Global LLC, Tom Girardi's Girardi & Keese law firm and its lenders were all accused of numerous crimes -- including racketeering, unlawful business practice, deceit, and receipt of stolen property. The group is being accused of misappropriating settlements from several cases, including money due to the families of the victims of a 2018 Boeing jet crash in Indonesia.
The suit alleges Girardi & Keese "stole more than $100 million dollars from the firm's clients, co-counsel, vendors, and many others unfortunate enough to do business" with them. It further called the company "little more than a criminal enterprise, disguised as a law firm."
Girardi & Keese is also accused of specifically "siphoning off millions to fund ... a lifestyle so lavish that Erika was a cast member of 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,'" where she and Tom "certainly played up the part of flaunting their wealth and the fact that Tom was a powerful attorney who wooed celebrities, judges, and politicians alike."
Pointing to Erika directly, the suit alleges Jayne acted as the "frontwoman" for the scheme, "selling to the world (and unsuspecting clients)" that the firm was successful. It's a job Edelson PC says she "was exceptionally good" at. The suit alleges Erika "shamelessly displayed a nationwide showroom of the money they stole on 'Real Housewives,' famously spending $40,000 per month on her 'look,' and releasing a song called 'XXPEN$IVE' -- featuring the refrain 'It's expensive to be me.'"
The suit is filled with claims about how Erika allegedly "uses her significant public platform" to "lie about her own involvement" in the scheme -- and says she even tries "to assist Tom and the others in getting away with it" on the show.
First, the suit claims Erika was lying when she appeared on "Watch What Happens Live" in 2019 and claimed she pays her own bills. "At this time, Erika knew that she did not 'pay her own bills' and that her lavish lifestyle was being funded entirely by Tom's law firm," the suit says. She's also accused of filing for divorce in a "sham attempt to protect her assets from creditors," before leveraging RHOBH to "defend Tom after the revelations of the scheme were uncovered."
Erika's story about Tom's car crash also plays a big role in the suit, with Edelson PC claiming she "began parroting a story about Tom's supposed mental decline that his attorneys were advancing" as part of his defense. Edelson accuses Erika of "attempting to explain away the decade-long" scheme "by blaming Tom's supposed mental decline" and even claims her story changed between Seasons 8 -- when the accident actually happened -- and Season 11.
In 2018, she claimed Tom simply broke his ankle and was fine, before changing her account "dramatically ... after the scheme was uncovered," reads the suit. In a 2021 episode, she said Tom actually "had a head injury, he broke his shoulder, snapped his ankle and broke his clavicle" after he "drove off a cliff" behind their home.
"Of course, if these new details about the car accident were true, it would have been understandable for Erika to keep them private," the suit admits, before adding, "But by all accounts, Erika's new story appears to be fabricated." As supposed proof, Edelson points to a clip from the show filmed a few weeks after the accident where "Tom was not wearing any casts, slings, or harnesses of any kind and appeared to be moving his arms and shoulders normally." Sutton Stracke questioning the story is also mentioned in the documents.
Edelson goes on to question the timing of Erika's story, saying her new account was filmed "on the same day that Tom's lawyers raised a mental incompetency defense for the first time." They believe this coincidence "shows that Erika is colluding with Tom and likely coordinating directly with his lawyers to assist with his defense."
Erika also stands accused of leveraging the scandal "to further her career and stay relevant in the tabloids, meaning more exposure and a larger paycheck for her next season of performing on 'Housewives,'" before the suit says she's "relishing the attention, even as she is being criticized for her lack of sympathy for the victims of the Enterprise whose money she flaunted on national television as her own."
In an attempt to prove that last point, Edelson called out Erika's "insensitive and shameful" social media behavior on key days of the unfolding scandal.
"On the same day that her involvement in the scheme was exposed in court filings, Erika tweeted a picture of herself on to her nearly 500,000 Twitter followers captioned 'High Drama,'" reads the suit. "When a federal judge found that Tom had 'misappropriated' at least $2 million from his Lion Air Clients, she posted a scantily clad picture of herself on Instagram for her 2.5 million followers captioned, 'Got buffoons eatin’ my pu$$y while I watch cartoons.'"
Edelson posits that "Erika knows that public response to her posts is negative, but she is leveraging even the negative press to continue her career as a reality television star" -- before accusing her of using her platform to "attack [the victims'] credibility ... and portray herself as the only true victim."
The law firm is requesting a trial by jury and an award of punitive or exemplary damages in an amount no less than $55,000,000. Meanwhile, Jay Edelson tells TooFab, "We have already gotten calls from more clients who were apparently swindled by the fraudulent enterprise, and we look forward to further building our case and finally getting the justice that is long overdue."
TooFab has reached out to Erika's team for comment.
On Tuesday night, after the lawsuit started making headlines, she simply tweeted out "Hiiiiiii" along with a grimacing emoji. "Ready for the new season?? I know I am!" she added.